Solution for digital and paper notetaking systems coexisting
August 2, 2017 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I've been taking personal notes like to do lists, ideas, recipes and various subjects in a mix of notebooks, scraps of paper, Google Keep and computer over the years. I need an integrated system so my note taking isn't disorganized. I want to use a mix of digital and analog. I have a planner, phone, bullet style journal and laptop with word.

I have three years of Google Keep notes. I usually write to do lists on keep and pin them so I don't have to keep looking for them. I also have ideas for art and crafts and writings on keep because usually when I get the idea my phone is most convenient. Most of my stuff is tagged. For example, for college I plan to write dates and homework assignments in both my planner's calender and my google calender. My problem is managing two systems and keeping it organized. I'm not sure if it's feasible or logical to have duplicates of paper and digital entries, especially with all my old files.
posted by starlybri to Technology (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Whitelines seems to have some kind of integration system associated with their notebooks and paper. Could be worth a look.
posted by thelonius at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2017

If you want to keep using paper for some things, you'll need to set aside time to transcribe the notes you want to keep into a digital format. If it is not worth digitizing, it is not worth keeping. You can digitize by typing or scanning and most phones do a pretty good job of scanning now. OneNote is part of Office and does a decent job of keeping pictures and words together so you can just snap a picture of the note. It has a not horrible (but not perfect) OCR option where if you paste in a screenshot of some text, you can usually right click on the picture and select "Copy Text from picture" and paste it back into the same page. You can check the conversion for typos and correct them on the spot. I don't know how well it works with handwriting.

Why do you want to keep two calendars? It has the potential to be a problem if you forget to sync them up. I would make it a practice to make one the Official Calendar that you enter everything into. Then make the other the backup that you copy things into when you have time.
posted by soelo at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2017

Not sure if you know this already, but I recently learned that Google Keep is not merely a phone app: You can use it on when you're logged into your Google account too, and that was a game-changer for me. Now that I know I can use Google Keep from my phone, my MacBook and my Windows desktop PC, it has become the central hub for all my lists and notes.

I'm not sure how you would use old-fashioned paper notes with a digital system, except taking photos or scanning your notes. I think you'd have to pick and choose: handwritten notes are for A, digital notes are for B. Or commit yourself to moving the handwritten notes to your digital space. I do this with lists and notes written on my whiteboard -- I eventually just re-enter it all into Keep. Or, if I am especially lazy, I take a photo of it with my cell phone camera.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2017

I use One Note. I am otherwise not a fan of anything else in the MS office environment, but One Note does 95% of my heavy lifting. I use Keep still for quick notes that need location reminders, but that's almost it now. I have separate notebooks in One Note for specific life areas, and then that's subdivided into tabs and pages.

If I'm on my desktop, I type in One Note, but if I'm on my iPad, I can easily jot notes or annotate PDF's with apple pencil, or just type regularly. (You can draw/doodle on the computer too, with a mouse or a graphics tablet).

I also love that it easily does screen clipping, I use it if I don't want to print the whole page to PDF. If I scribbled something down somewhere and don't want to transcribe it, I take a photo and might transcribe it later, or pull it into One Note.

Lots of good tagging and searching features in One Note too.
posted by strega_bianca at 1:30 PM on August 2, 2017

You may want to check out TagSpaces as an alternative to Evernote/One Note. Stores your stuff in files that can still be read without the program, in case it doesn't work with whatever OS you have in 20 years. Not sure if those other programs do that. Another plus is that it's not at the mercy of Google (RIP, Reader).

I've converted my written recipes to digital, and I like it a lot, especially tagging. Once they are all typed up and I'm sure I've backed it up to two locations, I get rid of the paper unless it is sentimental.

Re: keeping paper and digital calendar, yeah, you have to make an effort to sync them. It doesn't take a lot of time, just gotta remember. Ideally, you enter into both your paper system and GCal at the same time.
posted by elerina at 9:22 PM on August 9, 2017

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